Plastic Surgeons Drum Up Mass Business on Social Media

      September 25, 2015 10:22

      More cosmetic surgeons are offering discounts online through so-called social commerce businesses to attract customers in an increasingly crowded market.

      Social commerce firms, which drum up business through Facebook, Twitter and other social media, target women by offering heavily discounted prices if a certain number of them sign up to go under the knife.

      One 25-year-old woman got her botox treatment for just W20,000 (US$1=W1,195) after signing up for a deal offered on social media in May. A total of 1,200 people signed up, which pushed prices down to almost nothing from a standard cost of W120,000.

      "I was initially suspicious of the low price but signed up when I found out that a plastic surgeon in Gangnam was handling the procedure."

      But price slashing is only possible with assembly-line surgery methods, industry insiders say. One nurse at a cosmetic clinic in Gangnam said, "One doctor handles 30 patients a day who signed up for liposuction as a group, and he's got barely enough time to administer injections let alone offer consultations."

      Another nurse said patients start to converge on the hospital at 9 a.m. “and nurses end up having to handle any procedures that don’t involve injections."

      This is a clear violation of the regulations of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (KSPRS), which require surgeons handling the cosmetics procedure to consult patients prior to surgery.

      There are no adequate warnings of potential side effects, and customers frequently complain that they were not given the treatment that was advertised.

      Clinics pay social commerce firms a hefty commission. A KSPRS spokesman said, "Clinics that resort to this type of marketing are usually bigger operations that spend heavily on advertising and are pressured to recoup the costs."

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